The Condors have 16 games remaining in the regular season, but in reality any chance of making a suge and reaching the AHL playoffs for the first time is a game-by-game proposition.
A win against Stockton at home on Friday night and the Condors remain in the hunt with another win needed against San Diego on Saturday night.
It’s a precarious position for the Condors, who head into tonight’s game nine points out of a playoff position.
“We’re going to have to win Friday, we’re going to have to win Saturday,” said Condors coach Gerry Fleming.
Two years ago the Condors made a late run and came up just short. Last season the Condors were in a playoff position but lost six of their last nine and were passed by the surging Stockton Heat.
“It’s tough,” Condors center Josh Currie said of the annual battle to try and make the playoffs. “Three years in the same spot but the Pacific is a real tough division. We just need to win games that’s what it comes down to. You just gotta win every game you can.”
While the task ahead looks daunting, Fleming said all it really takes is one good run.
The Condors have pretty much hooved around the .500 mark throughout the season, never dipping more than three games below and never rising more than three games above.
“Like I told the guys, we haven’t had a real good run this season, why not now, why not us?,” Fleming said. “A lot of things that have happened or gone on this year and through it all they’ve stayed together, they’ve stayed resilient, they’ve stay positive. Their work ethic or energy level has always been consistent. This is a good group of guys. They really are.”
The Condors aren’t blessed with a lot of high-end, first and second-round draft picks or NHL prospects.
But they do possess some heart-and-soul players such as Josh Currie, who is in his fourth season (third in the AHL) with the Condors.
Currie is on his hottest streak of the season, having put up 13 points in his last nine games.
“Look at his track record throughout his career, whether pro or junior, he’s always been that guy who’s elevated his game,” Fleming said. “We play him in all situations. Late in the game, early in the game, power play penalty kill, a big faceoff. Up a goal, down a goal he’s the guy you go to.”
Currie had a career high 22 goals last season and finished with 36 points. He has 35 points in 52 games this season and is on pace for another 20-goal output as he has 16.
“Pucks are going my way, bounces,” he said of his recent run during which he has seven goals and six assists. “A lot of credit to Zach O’Brien and Ty Rattie, my linemates. They make it easy to play. They’re offensive guys and I’m just fortunate I get to play with them. Things have been going well for us and hopefully it continues.”
Injuries, call ups and suspensions have made putting together forward lines a bit of a shell game.
“You’ve got to learn to play with everyone … as of right now Me, Rats and O have just been clicking and hopefully we can continue that for the last 16 games,” Currie said.
But Currie is quick to note that in order for the Condors to be successful, it has to be a full team effort.
“It’s definitely by committee,” he said. We have a lot of good players. If some guys aren’t on one night, other guys up the slack and that’s been a huge part of our success.”
Certainly there is pressure heading into Friday night’s game, but Currie said it’s important to view it as business as usual.
“We know we’re in a battle with a couple of other teams,” he said. “We just have to come in here, put our work boots on, have fun and let the rest take care of itself. We just have to go out there and win the game. You can’t overthink it.”